In 2001, Bill Gates predicted that sales of tablet PCs would overtake laptop sales by 2005. According to a report by analyst group Canalys, there is no sign of Gates’s vision coming true: IT customers are still buying 100 times more notebooks than tablet PCs – and the ratio is not decreasing.
The research states that less than 35,000 tablet PCs were shipped in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in the second quarter, compared to 3.6 million notebooks sold during the same period. Sales for the quarter were actually down 12% from the first quarter, although the latest figure does represent a rise of 25% on the second quarter of 2003.
Mike Welch, vice president at Canalys, says that the increased demand for mobility in the workplace is evident in the sales of notebooks, handheld computers and smart phones. “But the tablet PC is not riding that wave nearly as well as it should,” he says, “particularly in the US, where customer requirements, for example in language recognition and country-specific vertical applications, are much more fragmented.”
Hewlett-Packard (HP) led the EMEA tablet PC market in the quarter – although its share has fallen to 24.5% from 28% a year ago. Acer, Fujitsu Siemens and Toshiba all outpaced HP in terms of growth.
Acer showed the hottest pace. It added almost 13% more to its market share over the year to the end of June, giving it a 23.5% share and bringing HP easily within in its sights.
Fujitsu Siemens continued to dominate the ‘slate’ PC segment with over 50% of the market. The company reported 11% year-on-year growth – an impressive result given the slate segment’s 45% decline overall from the previous year.